Can I Use a Welding Helmet to View an Eclipse? Full Guide

Can I use a welding helmet to view an eclipse

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Last Updated on May 5, 2021 by John Patterson

An eclipse is one phenomenon that is more impressive from the ground.– Leroy Chiao

If an astronaut says that an eclipse is impressive, then you should believe it.

Moreover, visible eclipses are pretty rare occurrences. And most people don’t have a reminder telling them when the eclipse is.

So, when the eclipse arrives, people go rushing into the stores looking for eclipse glasses.

Here’s the thing-

These glasses are slow-moving consumer items. And when eclipse arrives, they get out of stock pretty quickly.

In situations like this, people look for alternatives, and most of the time, they end up watching it on TV.

Watching welding helmets, you might ask around,

“Can I use a welding helmet to view an eclipse?”

The answer is both yes and no. You can watch with it only if your helmet has a certain level of protection.

Here we will discuss everything related to that.

So, let’s jump right into the details-

Can I Use a Welding Helmet to View an Eclipse?

What is the Required Level?

Top-quality Welding helmets can protect eyes from that close-range UV ray emission. So, that faraway solar eclipse must be nothing for that.

Most people think that and use a welding helmet without looking up the issue properly. When we first heard the question, we also felt that.

But after some digging, we found out that we were wrong.

According to NASA– “You must have glasses or viewers that are fully compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard to watch the solar eclipse.”

Now, what does that mean for welding helmets?

This means your helmet must have a shade 12 or higher filter to view an eclipse.

But there’s more to this.

With a shade 12 filter, you shouldn’t look at the eclipse for very long. On the other hand, shade 14 is too dark to watch an eclipse. So, try to get a helmet with shade 13.

Now, if you have a standard welding helmet, then this is pretty much it. But if you have an auto-darkening helmet, then you have some extra work incoming.

How to watch the eclipse with auto-darkening welding helmets?

At first, see if your auto-darkening helmet goes up to shade 12. If not, then you have to drop this one.

If your helmet goes up to shade 12 and more, then you have to do some hacks now.

Eclipse Helmet Making Process

To keep your eyes in place while watching an eclipse, you now have to make this eclipse helmet. So, let’s go through the making process.

For this, you’ll need some items-

  1. Your welding helmet (Obviously)
  2. One glue gun
  3. Some rubbing alcohol
  4. Aluminum foil tape
  5. A Remote-control
  6. A plastic bottle cap (2 inches diameter)
  7. One paper towel

Once you have all the materials in hand, it’s time to start the hard work.

Step 1: Take some rubbing alcohol on the paper towel and rub the place beside the helmet glass.

Step 2: Put some glue on your remote and place it on the rubbed places. Make sure the remote emitter is in line with the helmet sensor.

Step 3: Put the cap in front of the emitter. While gluing the cap to the helmet, make sure you don’t block much of the viewing zone. Check if the cap covers both the emitter and the sensor on that side.

Step 4: Drop a light inside the helmet and try to see it from outside. See if the glass goes dark after pressing a button on the remote.

Step 5: Take that tape and cover the outside of the cap. Cover the other sensor too.

Extra Tip: Once you’re done with watching the eclipse, don’t throw away the helmet. Take some isopropyl alcohol and brush it onto the glue. Soon you’ll see the glue detaching itself.

Working Principle
The LED emission from the remote will tell your helmet it’s too bright out there. So, the helmet will darken even more.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question #1:  Is a welding helmet safe for the solar eclipse?

Answer: Yes and No. It depends. You can look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through welding helmets for as long as you wish. But you have to make sure of one thing. That is whether your welding helmet eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. It’s best to use Shade 13 glasses.

Question #2:  Can I use a welding helmet to look at the Sun?

Answer: Yes, you can. Just make sure your glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. Put see if your welding helmet glasses are shade 12 or higher. In the case of auto-darkening models, see if your helmet goes to shade 13 at least.

Bottom Line

If you’re pulling out that welding helmet from a lot of dust and garbage, then make sure it has shade 13 filters.

Now go and watch that eclipse.

Good luck.

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About the author

John Patterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.